The Rance Estuary, which runs north from the medieval town of Dinan into the English Channel between the traditional seaside resort of Dinard and the walled town of Saint-Malo, is best known for its tidal power station. You’ll also come across one of France’s most beautiful villages.
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Discover Saint-Suliac and the Rance
Opened in 1966, the Rance Tidal Power Station was the world’s first station to harness the power of the sea to create electricity. The barrage is 750m (2,461ft) long with a road running along it, which links the east bank of the Rance river with the left bank a few miles south of Dinard and Saint-Malo. Although the discovery centre is currently closed for refurbishment, the barrage is a magnificent sight, especially when the drawbridge is lifted for large boats to pass through.
Plus beau village
Halfway between Saint-Malo and Dinan is Saint-Suliac, a fishing port that is regarded as one of France’s most beautiful villages. Take a guided tour, past the pretty granite cottages and 12th-century church, before heading up to the Virgin of Grainfollet statue for panoramic views over the estuary.
Read all about it
To learn about life on the Rance head to the Maison de la Rance discovery centre in Lanvallay, opposite the port of Dinan. As well as interactive displays, which include a simulation of the river’s tides, visitors can book a guided tour by bike, kayak or on foot to explore the natural environment.
A town of character
South of Dinan, the little town of Léhon has been designated a Petite Cité de Caractère. After a walk along the river, take a guided tour of Saint-Magloire Abbey before heading up to the ruins of the 11th-century château to climb the towers and admire the views.
Did you know
Only 2% of cider produced in the Val de Rance is certified organic.
The Val de Rance area produces some of the best cider in Brittany – there are around 450 producers – and where better to find out the liquid gold than the Apple and Cider Museum in Pleudihen-sur-Rance? After learning about the origins of the fruit, the different varieties and how to make cider, you can relax with a tasting.